Reigning champion Victor Bray took maximum points in Perth to move to second place in the 1999/2000 Australian Top Doorslammer Championship behind Adelaide’s Dave Koop.
The two Chevys met in the final of the Westernationals, with Bray producing a world class performance to hit the finish line first. His 233.16 miles per hour speed (373 kph) set a new ANDRA National Record and made the Castrol Chevy the world’s fastest class legal racing sedan.
In very hot conditions, similar to those experienced in Melbourne two weeks prior, Bray topped early qualifying with a relatively slow 6.73. Koop opened with a 6.82 and like Bray, did not improve through the afternoon. Local driver Robin Judd was still outside the field before the last session, but a stunning 6.49 put him on top, followed by Melbourne’s Peter Kapiris almost two tenths behind. Bray finished in fourth spot, three places ahead of points leader Koop. The final table saw locals Dave Simpson and Lindsay Murray on the outside, with Peter Gratz’s 7.14 in eleventh place.
TOP DOORSLAMMER QUALIFYING ORDER
- Robin Judd – 6.49
- Peter Kapiris – 6.68
- Les Winter – 6.72
- Victor Bray – 6.73
- Brett Stevens – 6.80
- Andrew Searle – 6.82
- Dave Koop – 6.82
- Peter Hamilton – 6.88
- Dave Simpson – 6.90
- Lindsay Murray – 7.09
- Peter Gratz – 7.14
The conditions improved as eliminations approached, but that didn’t make things any more predictable. The two Western Australians in the field faced each other in the first round, with Judd taking an easy win after Hamilton broke on the burnout. The four Queenslanders faced each other with Searle’s Ford taking out Winter’s Chevy and the Jack Daniels Studebaker of Brett Stevens losing to Bray. Koop left first against Kapiris but was caught early by the Victorian. Kapiris was set for a solid win but a slowing 7.40 wasn’t good enough for Koop’s 6.91.
Bray faced Judd in the semi final. His 6.44 elapsed time covered the local’s 6.73 and stood as Low Elapsed Time for the event, but every jaw in the place dropped when the 232.23 miles per hour (371 kph) speed came up. That made Bray the fastest sedan driver on earth. Searle’s Ford had suffered engine damage in his first round win over Winter and he staged the Customline with the starter in case Koop struck problems. That didn’t happen and an easy 7.49 made it an all Chevy final.
In the most important race of the series so far, the Adelaide Chevy left first. Bray left the start softly but soon hit the lead and at half track the Castrol Chevy was 22 miles per hour (35 kph) faster. At the finish line that margin had increased to 36 miles per hour (57 kph), and Victor’s 6.52 was more than half a second in front of Koop. Again though, it was the speed took everyone’s attention.
With the Perth round bonus and extra points for low elapsed time and top speed, Bray took a total of 165 points, moving him to second place, just 22 points behind Koop whose runner up finish kept him on top. With two rounds remaining, Koop and Bray should carry the battle through to the Konica Winternationals in June. Judd is still a real threat and Kapiris can’t be discounted.
“After the bad luck we’ve had lately, this is the best possible lift for our Castrol team,” said Bray. “I didn’t expect the speeds to be as high today, but after the heat in the afternoon the air and the track surface cooled down and produced some great conditions for racing. We were on the edge of overpowering the track in the first half of every run but in the second half of the track the car was absolutely flying. It was awesome to drive – the best feeling in the world!”
1999/2000 AUSTRALIAN TOP DOORSLAMMER CHAMPIONSHIP POINTSCORE
- Dave Koop, SA – ’55 Chevrolet – 450
- Victor Bray, QLD – ’57 Chevrolet – 428
- Robin Judd, WA – ’53 Studebaker – 370
- Peter Kapiris, VIC – ’53 Studebaker – 335
- Andrew Searle, QLD – ’56 Ford Customline – 270
- David Simpson, WA – EL Ford Fairmont – 268
- Brett Stevens, QLD – ’53 Studebaker – 240
- Les Winter, QLD – ’55 Chevrolet – 180
- Peter Gratz, QLD – Dodge Daytona – 130
- Marcus Chambers, VIC – ’71 Monaro – 120
- Lindsay Murray, WA – ’95 Commodore Ute – 120
- Peter Hamilton, WA – Holden Statesman – 120
- Steve Stanic, NSW – ’56 Ford Custompline – 80
- Ben Gatt, NSW – EA Ford Falcon – 40
- Lui Raschella, SA – Chevrolet Belair – 40
- Colin Will, SA – ’55 Ford Thunderbird – 40
- Mike Trahar, VIC – ’53 Studebaker – 20
- Gary Phillips, – ’53 Studebaker – 20
- Alf Sorbello, NSW – ’99 Holden Commodore – 20